Sunday, September 2, 2012

Scholarship Programs and Education Benefits For Navy Spouses

While military spouses aren't covered by the same tuition assistance benefits to the same degree as their active duty service members, the funds available through education programs for spouses and family members sure are helpful in defraying the costs associated with earning a college or vocational degree.
Here are some of the assistance programs and opportunities offered to Navy spouses:
SOCNAV, the Service Members Opportunity Colleges degree program, consists of colleges that offer degree programs on, or accessible to installations worldwide. SOCNAV guarantees that adult family members can continue to work towards attaining their degrees, even if they experience frequent Navy transfers. Distance learning, which requires no classroom residency, is another option available under this program.
The Navy Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) offers the Spouse Tuition Aid Program to spouses whose service members are on active duty and stationed overseas. The spouse may be a full or part-time student studying towards a vocational certificate or college degree. At the undergraduate level, a maximum of $300 per semester and $1500 per year is authorized, whereas the total allowed for pursuing a graduate degree is $350 per semester and $1750 annually.
Spouses of active duty members can apply for the Vice Admiral E.P. Travers Scholarship and Loan Program as long as he or she is a full-time undergraduate student at an accredited academic institution. Here is a brief description:
- 1000 grants at $2000 each are awarded each academic year.
- Applicants are also evaluated for an interest-free student of up to $3000.
- Repayment of the loan begins within 30 days of award and must be repaid by allotment within two years.
- The application deadline is March 1st of each year.
- Applications received after the deadline will not be considered for the scholarship; however, they will be evaluated for loan purposes.
There is more good news for military spouses - A special provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill offers education benefits for the spouses and children of service members. The new law gives the Department of Defense authorization to allow those who have served a minimum of six years in the Armed Forces, and who agree to serve at least four more, to transfer their unused GI Bill entitlement to their spouse. Also, when a service member reaches their 10-year anniversary, they have the option of transferring the benefit to their spouse or any of their dependents.
Regarding scholarships and grants, many go unclaimed because people just aren't sure where to find them. Fortunately, there is a valuable online resource to help locate scholarship opportunities with details as to how, where and when to apply. Log on to and visit the "Scholarship Finder" which lists over 1,000 scholarships from a variety of sources. It's never too early to start your search, as many application deadlines are as early as an entire year in advance.
It's important to pay close attention to all qualification requirements, deadlines, and required paperwork when making application for tuition assistance. Don't wait until the last minute!
For the latest information concerning Military education benefits and procedures, please visit your education counseling office.

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